Seabright has a bright future

Camden ushers in new pizza restaurant

Tue, 03/19/2013 - 12:00pm

    CAMDEN — Seabright in Camden is the new kid on the block. At 7 Public Landing, the space occupies what was once Paolina’s Way. Brian Hill, owner of Francine Bistro, opened the new restaurant that specializes in pizza.

    Though not scheduled to officially open until April 1, Hill and staff hosted a soft opening allowing friends to sample what the restaurant will be like.

    “Just pizza,” said Hill. “And it’s simplified further than that."

    Seabright will offer five different types of pizza, but the style of pizza and ingredients will change daily. There will also be two salad options on the menu.

    “The idea is to keep it simple,” said HIll. “Simple and inexpensive. Everything is under $15. There’s just one size of pizza and two salads to choose from. Come May, we’ll open for lunch and we’ll sell pizza by the slice. A slice will be one quarter of a pizza.”

    Simple works in other ways, too. I only waited 10 minutes from the time my pizza was ordered until it was sitting in front of me dressed, sliced and piping hot.

    Anyone who knows Hill knows that simple means the ease of making, not the quality of the ingredients.

    “We make our own mozzarella and vinegar. We use San Marzano DOP tomatoes, which are the best and tightly controlled. The olive oil is extra virgin and we even shave our own Bonito flakes. When the pizza comes from the oven it finished with fresh grated Parmesan and Romano cheese and extra virgin olive oil.”

    San Marzano tomatoes are considered by many chefs to be the best in the world. Brian said one of the reasons he chose the location was in fact its location.

    “It’s a great location," he said. "It’s on the harbor and easy to get to. And it’s only a block away from Francine. We’ll have a full bar that will feature cocktails on tap. If a person comes off the boat and is in need of a strong drink, he can get it fast here. We’ll also feature good rum drinks for all the sailors. Again, we keep it simple for the wine, red and white. You can get a glass for $6 or buy a Magnum for the table.”

    Hill said he has had a love of pizza all his life.

    “I’ve been obsessed with pizza since I started cooking,” he said. “I’ve always tried to find ways to make it better. “It sounds strange, but I remember every pizza I’ve ever cooked. Finicky is a better word. What we do here is finicky pizza.”

    He briefed me on the menu this evening.

    “There’s a basic Margherita, “ Hill said. (Side note: the pie is swathed in the colors of the Italian flag: red (tomato), green (basil), and white (mozzarella). “We have a roasted mushroom, tomato sauce, mushroom puree, roasted red onion and topped with a local cheese curd. There’s a sausage, fennel and Ragged Island Romano topped with a whipped lemon cream. A cauliflower with cauliflower puree, rosemary and black pepper pecorino. And a spicy shrimp with caramelized leeks, tomato sauce, shaved bonito and scallion.”

    Reena Nemirovsky manages Seabright.

    “I’m a New Yorker,” she said. “New York pizza is some of the best in the world. Wood fired is the best way to prepare a pizza.”

    Nemirosvsky and her partner, Matteo Maniscalco (Seabright’s pizzaiolo), have an indepth knowledge of pizza.

    “We just returned from a tour of Italy, where we toured and ate pizza twice a day," said Nemirovsky. “It’s just three ingredients, but they have to be just right and you have to know what you’re doing.”

    Maniscalco is a CIA (Culinary Institute of America) professionally-trained chef, but this is his first endeavor with pizza. He and Nemirovsky had previously operated a food cart that traveled between farmers' markets. Both reside now in Camden and are excited to be part of Seabright.

    Gregg and Dru Mineo, of Camden, dined on pizza last night.

    “It’s very good,” said Gregg “Very crispy, not doughy at all.”

    Another large group sat at the back of the restaurant and ordered several pizzas and salads. Between bites I got “Mmmm” with a head shake, “yummy and fabulous.”

    Dan Cheever, of Camden, and part of the group said the group knew Brian and the Bistro.

    “We’ve known Brian for a long time," he said. "These are very unusual combinations for a pizza. I’ve never had one with whipped cream, but it works. The crust is perfect and the service was very fast. I would recommend the restaurant very highly.”

    As the place filled with people and others left there was a high degree of satisfaction that prevailed. Hill said they would serve until all the dough was gone. I was happy I got there first and had an excellent pizza. Seabright has a bright future as part of the Camden waterfront. Given Chef Brian Hill’s reputation, I can’t say that I expected anything less.


    Chris Wolf can be reached at